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Flash effects on exposure

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Without a flash, and in manual mode, if I change the aperture or shutter speed I can see the exposure indicator change from positive (+) or negative (-), then to zero. And I can be reasonably confident that my photo will be properly exposed if the bars are at zero (or near).


However, whenever I turn on the flash it doesn't seem to have an effect on the exposure indicator reading. I might see five bars on the negative side of the exposure indicator, so that will prompt me to open the lens until the meter reading is close to zero. The problem with this is that I don't know if the flash will actually cause an overexposure.


Does anyone have any basic tips on how to adjust the aperture and shutter speed when a flash is being used in manual mode? How do I know if my adjustments or too much or too little?









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The meter only measures the available light. 

I often set the aperture I need for the DOF, ISO to get in the ballpark for the reach of the flash and a shutter speed to underexpose the ambient light somewhere between 1/3 and a full stop to let the TTL flash handle the exposure on the subject without getting a too dark background. Using this technique, shooting with balanced fill flash gets surprisingly easy.

If you want full manual control, bracket like mad until you get a feel for how much flash you need to balance the ambient light or get a hand-held flash meter and learn to use it. 

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